When architects choose materials to build with, they do so according to the context, climate, and conditions of the chosen site. They always take into consideration how these materials are going to age, react to climatic conditions, and evolve over time. If the architecture is intended to coexist closely with nature, these changes are less easy to predict, and continue throughout a structure’s lifespan.
Unfinished is a photographic series that portrays architectural structures in relationship to the natural environment. The vegetation itself is the protagonist, taking back what rightfully belongs to it. The structures are invaders, a symbol of human futility in trying to control and resist nature.
The project is inspired by a curious sculpture garden called Las Pozas, built decades ago in the middle of the Mexican rainforest. Created by the eccentric English poet Edward James, Las Pozas was inspired by the Surrealist aesthetic he so admired. Built mostly of concrete, the structures incorporate stairs leading to nowhere, doorways opening to nothing, unfinished bridges, and narrow, curving paths that lead to unexpected sights.
James created this elaborate garden with the intent of allowing the jungle to reclaim it. And it has, with the continuous dampness causing the structures to crumble and thick vegetation obscuring large parts of them. Edward James believed that if a work of art was “finished,” it would lose this continuity in time and space. Essentially, it would die.
As an architectural photographer, I am often tasked with interpreting the intentions of an architect. In this project, though, my goal is to reveal nature’s ability to influence, change, and even erode the strongest buildings. I want to explore the idea that architecture itself can change over time, that this continuity is unpredictable, and that nature itself can be the main agent of this change.